In terms of high fashion, hip-hop has had influence on primarily two important designers- Karl Lagerfeld and Isaac Mizrahi. Both Lagerfeld and Mizrahi, who are respected and prestigious designers, looked for cues from and were influenced by hip-hop fashion elements. For the Chanel Fall/Winter Ready-to-Wear line, Karl Lagerfeld had embraced the hip-hop style of the big, heavy gold jewelry. Some models were dressed in black leather jackets with an abundance of gold chains. Others were dressed in long dresses with heavy padlocked silver chains, similar to the one worn by Treach of Naughty by Nature. Isaac Mizrahi came in direct contact with the trend by his elevator operator, who, at the moment, was sporting the typical heavy gold chain that was central to hip hop fashion at the time. In his show the following season, models were featured wearing black catsuits with big gold chains, nameplates and black bomber jackets.
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Jenna Lyons and the J.Crew design team and CEO Mickey Drexler are in Hong Kong to celebrate the opening of their expansion in Hong Kong, the first in Asia to have free-standing J.Crew stores. Speaking of day jobs, congratulations on the stores. Two stores in Hong Kong. Last year when we met you were just exploring the idea of expansion. I didn’t think a year ago that it would be happening now. It’s exciting. Designing a store internationally — it’s been easier than I’ve expected as we’ve had that experience with our London store. It’s gone pretty seamlessly. I am so happy with the stores. Why do a separate store for men and women? When we do combined stores they are larger and there aren’t really a lot of large footprints here and also what we’ve been gravitating to are smaller and more specialized experiences. We’ve seen men respond well to having an environment specifically geared towards them, with a staff focus on their needs.
And that’s been a successful model for us. That doesn’t mean we won’t do a combined store it’s just that the real estate is not available and it’s all about location. You’ve had a couple of seasons at Lane Crawford, what did you learn from that? What it gave us was an understanding of the market. We weren’t sure if people would respond to the product. We had no idea. But we’ve had a tremendous response from the Lane Crawford team and their customers and that was very encouraging and it made us feel confident. We also thought that potentially the style here would be different, that they would dress differently but the fact of the matter is is that style isn’t necessarily attached to a zip code. How are you addressing concerns over slightly higher prices here compared to the US? We’ve done everything we possibly can to address that. We’ve gone back and forth with Lane Crawford a lot to make sure that things are adjusted.